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03 ford f150 "bird chirp" squeek

I have a 2003 f150 with a 4.2 v6 2wd and about 116 on the clock.

It has this annoying, faint squeek whenever i hit bumps in the road. Sort’ve sounds like bird chirps. I cannot reproduce it if I bounce on it while parked.

One rainy day I tried to show a friend and it would not make the sound it seemed. Therefore I think its exterior, although it almost sounds inside.

Today I sprayed down all the rubber joints under the front end with silicone spray. It still squeeked while driving afterwards.

How else can I go about diagnosing this?

I should note that a ford dealer claimed the ball joints were worn and needed to be replaced. Although, would a ball joint make bird chirp type squeeks while driving at most speeds (20mph - highway speeds)? It does not intensify or change at any particular speed.

My understanding is that a bad ball joint would grind when turning the wheel or clunk while traveling over speed bumps or something similar.


Ball joints will squeak if the wheel is turned slightly to the left and right as well. Put the truck on the lift and look for any bright orange rust on a dry day. Wherever there is metal to metal contact and movement there will be some metal dust that rusts.

Also inspect driveshaft u-joints.

The next time you hear the chirping noise while driving over bumps, slightly press on the brake pedal. If the noise goes away look at the front brake pads and their retaining clips for wear.


Thanks for the input guys i’ll check it out

Suspension and steering components such as ball joints, tie rod ends, etc. that have no alemite can still be greased with this device

If used carefully the tool can add many years and miles to components that often run dry. If the grease boots are collapsed piercing them and injecting grease might end the squeak while saving the noisy part.

Here’s an interesting question

Are you absolutely sure it’s not an engine noise?

I believe those Ford cam synchronizers are known for chirping . . .

Update. The brake theory, while i wish it was it because of ease of fixing, is bust.

It does it while slowly approaching stop signs.

While very slowly going around a culdesac it will barely chirp. While sitting still it wont do it, however if i turn the steering wheel and sortve make the engine vibrate by putting a load on it, it will very subtley do it.

Its not a screetch of a bad power steering pump and its most prominent while driving a straight line at speed and hitting bumps.

Its definitely something in the engine compartment id guess. Now, why would it not do it that rainy day? Was that just coincidental?

I just had the Cam synchronizer replaced on my 2003 Taurus because it was chirping. It seems to be a fairly common problem with the Vulcan V6. The synchronizer looks like the bottom half of a distributor and in fact replaced the distributor on the Ford V6 when it went over to individual coil packs. I confirmed it was the synchronizer chirping using a cheap Harbor Freight stethoscope.

Ed B.

Is that the 3.0? Or the 4.2? From what Ive read online it seems like a constant squeal and you get a check engine light. I have neither of those things but maybe it just hasnt gotten bad enough yet?

It’s the 3.0 V6. If the 4.2 was originally designed for a distributor it would have a synchronizer if it was converted to coil packs. The chirping would come and go on the Taurus and I first thought the serpentine belt and/or a pulley was bad. There was no check engine light or squealing. Once I figured out where the distributor was originally on the V6 I was able to confirm it was the source of the noise with the stethoscope. My mechanic knew what the problem was right away when I described the noise, but he admitted he had a heck of a time diagnosing the problem the first time he came across it on a Ford.

Ed B.

Ok. We have rain so I just took it for a drive. I still got the chirp when hitting bumps for the first 5 minutes or so, then it seemed to go away. It seemed in areas that it would certainly chirp on a dry day it didnt now in the rain.

This leads me to believe the water is lubricating whatever it is that is squeaking. This also makes it seem unlikely to be a cam syncronizer.

What makes it confusing was that yesterday, when it was dry, i could seem to get a really faint chirp when in drive but stopped, with the wheel turned just enough to put the engine under load. Again the chirp is most audible when driving down the road hitting little bumps. If water is enough to lubricate and stop the chirp it would seem to be some kind of light guage light duty metal rubbing somewhere, rather than a suspension component. The search continues!

Drove it again, raining out still. It will chirp on bumps the first 5 minutes and then seems to go away. Im guessing it takes that to get the water kicked up and “lubricate” the problem spot.

Does anyone think this cancels out the probability of it being the cam synchronizer? Im hoping so. Sounds like a pain to do.

Put new moog lower ball joints, and moog upper control arms and ball joints in today. Still chirps, but it was good I did it, as the old were toasted.

If anyone has any other ideas to go about finding the chirp please chime in! Thanks

I doubt anyones following this thread, but just in case, i had my gf drive the truck while i moved around and tried to find the chirp. my ear brought me to under the dash near the brake/gas pedals. It nearly sounds inside, but that would not account for why it goes away when it rains.

Ok, i just used an entire can of silicone spray, and a good bit of lithium grease throughout the truck. It STILL chirps. Ive lost it folks! The truck came with a pet bird.

I have same chirp with Taurus. Changed cam sync. Did not fix it. Waterpump is leaking from timing cover and drips onto serp belt? Sprayed belt stuff on serp belt and squeak stops. Mechanic says fix TC gasket for 6hrs labor and new serp belt. I changed worn wp which is not bad. But TC gasket is only more of the same. Time and effort

Is your taurus the 4.2 and does it mainly only happen when you hit little bumps?

Little chirps will drive you crazy. I had one going over bumps in an '80 F250 4x4 that I swore was behind my head. After months, I happened to grab the visor a certain way and it chirped! Lubed the visor hinge, problem solved. All I can suggest is, while gf is driving, push on every piece of the interior you can reach and see what happens.

remove serp belt. try a quick drive around block on cold engine. since you dont have waterpump. or power steering. see if noise is gone.